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Small birds almost overheat while feeding their young

Hungry birds For decades, researchers have thought that access to food determined the brood size of birds. Now, biologists at Lund University in Sweden have discovered a completely new explanation: the body temperature of small birds can increase by more than 4°C to exceed 45°C when they are feeding their young. Larger broods would require more work, resulting in even higher body temperatures - something the birds would probably not survive.

The most detailed star catalogue ever released

Gaia. Illustration: ESA/ATG medialab and ESO/S. Brunier. The most comprehensive star catalogue in the history of astronomy has been released, mapping out an impressive 1.7 billion stars. The catalogue is based on observations made by the European satellite Gaia, and contains the exact distances, luminosity, temperatures and colours of millions of stars in the Milky Way. Astronomers at Lund University in Sweden play a prominent part in the Gaia project.

EU agrees on a ban on the use of neonicotinoids

EU agrees on a ban on the use of neonicotinoids The European Union will ban the world’s most widely used insecticides from all fields due to the serious danger they pose to bees.

Birds migrate away from diseases

Greenfinches. Photo: Thomas Alerstam In a unique study, researchers at Lund University in Sweden have mapped the origins of migratory birds. They used the results to investigate and discover major differences in the immune systems of sedentary and migratory birds. The researchers conclude that migratory species benefit from leaving tropical areas when it is time to raise their young – as moving away from diseases in the tropics enables them to survive with a less costly immune system.

How birds can detect the Earth’s magnetic field

Zebra finches. Photo: Aron Hejdström Researchers at Lund University in Sweden have made a key discovery about the internal magnetic compass of birds. Biologists have identified a single protein without which birds probably would not be able to orient themselves using the Earth’s magnetic field.

Sowing strips of flowering plants has limited effect on pollination

Sown flower strips of clover. Photo: Maj Rundlöf Many pollinating insects benefit from a small-scale agricultural landscape with pastures, meadows and other unploughed environments. In landscapes dominated by arable land, they lack both food and nesting places. Sown flower strips can increase the availability of food for pollinating insects, and are therefore assumed to benefit pollination. However, new research from Lund University in Sweden shows that the effect of the sown flower strips on pollination is limited and cannot compensate for the advantages of a varied landscape.

Avoid south-facing birdhouses – for the nestlings’ sake

Bird nest. Photo: Fredrik Andreasson Ten-day-old baby birds are able to maintain their regular body temperature despite nest box temperatures of 50C° or above. Researchers at Lund University in Sweden can now show that nestlings pay a high price for regulating their body temperature: they grow less. Therefore, the recommendation when putting up a nest box should be to avoid hot, south-facing locations and choosing a spot in the shade.

Chance is a factor in the survival of species

The beautiful demoiselle (Calopteryx virgo) Photo: Erik Svensson In a major study, biologists at Lund University in Sweden have studied the role of chance in whether a species survives or dies out locally. One possible consequence according to the researchers, is that although conservation initiatives can save endangered species, sometimes chance can override such efforts.

New research initiative will address environmental problems of the Baltic Sea region Hanö Bay

Hanö Bay Lund University and the Simrishamn Municipality have received funding from Region Skåne to start a new research and innovation environment at the Marine Centre in Simrishamn. The aim is to study and solve environmental problems and societal challenges linked to the sea, water and coastal areas of Skåne and southern Sweden.

Gut bacteria can mean life or death for birds

Ostrich chick. Photo: Elin Videvall In her upcoming thesis at Lund University in Sweden, biologist Elin Videvall shows that the composition of gut bacteria in birds has a major impact on whether their offspring will survive their first three months. “My findings could be important for increasing survival rates”, she says.


Lena Björk Blixt
Press Officer
+ 46 46 222 71 86
+ 46 709 79 79 70

Lena [dot] Bjork_Blixt [at] science [dot] lu [dot] se